Madison Simonette, 5, runs circles around the Simonette family's living room, with little brother, Jase, 2, in tow.
Talking up a storm, you’d never guess Madison once worked with a Horizons Specialized Services speech therapist.
Only saying mom, dad and hi by 18 months, Madison’s pediatrician recommended Ashley and John Simonette consider contacting Horizons and utilize their early intervention and family support programs.
Working with children from birth until age 3, therapists help increase children’s motor, language and cognitive development through play.
Working with speech therapist Mona Entwhistle, Madison now will talk your ear off; in fact her parents say they have to remind her to give Jase a chance to respond before answering for him.
And now the Simonette’s are hoping Entwhistle can help Jase, too.
“Mona comes over and interacts, plays, tries to motivate him to talk,” Ashley said. “Madison showed improvement much faster than him, but that’s normal with girls and boys.”
John and Ashley said although Jase doesn’t speak very much, it’s not for a lack of comprehension.
“His comprehension of things is amazing,” John said, adding that Jase follows basic instructions with ease.
More than just a therapist, Ashley said the kids love when Entwhistle comes to visit, which she does every Monday to work with Jase, driving down from Clark to do so.
“They love her,” Ashley said. “I told Jase Mona was coming over and he got all excited.”
John said he and Ashley are hoping the program does a lot for Jase, who really likes noises but not necessarily words.
The Simonettes said Enthwistle helps them know how to work with Jase when she’s not there, as well, giving progress reports and things to work on during the week while she’s away.
For those worried about their child’s development but hesitant to reach out for help, John and Ashley have a bit of advice.
“Hesitating is only going to hold your kid back more,” Ashley said. “The only person you’re hurting is your kid.”
John said not accepting the help would be a poor decision.
“It’s a positive direction and educational,” John said. “If someone is willing to come and help your child and expand their vocabulary before they hit school, or even their understanding before they hit school that helps out dramatically. In the long run, it’s so much more beneficial. You know your child will eventually do well because they had this jump start.”
The early intervention program aims to help children before they reach school age, because the sooner the better to begin working on developmental issues.
Horizons offers their intervention and family support programs at no cost to any family who needs them.
That’s why this time of year, Horizons is having its annual Little Points of Light Fundraiser, to help continue provide valuable services like the ones for Madison and Jase at no cost to those who need them the most.
The Moffat County Horizons office is located at 439 Breeze St., Suite No. 100 in Craig. Contributions may be mailed to P.O. Box 1483, or for more information call, 970-824-2643.
“They’re extremely cooperative and extremely helpful,” Ashley said.
“Working with Horizons has been very beneficial and easy,” John said. “Every little thing helps.”
Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or email@example.com
“Hesitating is only going to hold your kid back more. The only person you’re hurting is your kid.”
Ashley Simonette about accepting help for children with developmental issues